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Layover at the Seattle Airport

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I have about a 4.5 hour layover at the Seattle airport. Would it be feasible to leave and find some good eats nearby?

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  1. Well, depends on what time you arrive. If it's anywhere near morning or evening rush hour (6:30-9:30 am) or (3:00 - 6:30 pm) don't leave the airport. It's not located super close to downtown and it'll also cost you about $20 minimum one-way for a non-stop cab ride. I have no idea what the heck is even located in Sea-Tac the city. Some of the restaurants in the airport have improved lately...I remember good drinks one time in the Safari themed restaurant...

    1. It all depends on how mobile you are. Food at the airport is terrible. There are good to very good options on International Blvd (Highway 99) which runs past the airport going north-south. A few blocks north on 99 is a Thai place that some hounds have signed off on, but I haven't been there. Much Thai and Korean can be found heading south. Several miles south is Indochine, once a hound favorite but now back in the pack. (Even though it is on 99 it would be faster to take I-5 to get there.) Also by car the "Chinese Mall" in Kent near IKEA is a possibility. But if you have a layover, my guess is that you are stuck in the airport and hostage to their miserable fare. Best of a bad bargain would be either the udon noodles at the udon stand or the fast-food steam table chinese in the main terminal. Avoid at all costs Ivar's chowder, except for industrial uses.

      Personally, I would reroute through Logan in Boston and spend my time at Legal Seafoods.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Peter

        Bai Tong 15859 International Blvd, Seatac Airport 206-431-0893 ...

        Is probably a mile North of the airport, so a cab shouldn't be too bad...

        1. re: mr.nelso

          The first time I ate at Bai Tong, soon after it opened publicly, it was great. The last time I ate there, admittedly a couple of years ago, it was OK but nothing special.

          So, those of you recommending Bai Tong, have you been there lately, or is this just old reputation?

          1. re: Randy Brook

            In truth, my comments were based on my own 15-year-old experience. At that time, I found it quite good. Now that you ask, though, this may have related to the fact that they were early on a Thai-food scene that has grown immensely since, and may have grown my (our?) tastes along with it. It may be that they have slipped. Thank you for your question, Randy.

            1. re: mr.nelso

              NOTE: The Bai Tong on International Blvd is *closed* and has moved to 16876 Southcenter Pkwy Tukwila, WA 98188 . It's still pretty close to the airport, but don't go looking for the old location.

              ps. The food is good!

              Edited to add: I'm sorry; I just realized this part of the thread is old. Oops.

              1. re: seattledebs

                Went to Bai Tong after an airport run last night. First visit since a trip to the old location many years ago. I found the food very good, clearly a cut above the average. Sticking to items not usually found at the generic thai spots, we started with the gai hor bai toey, chicken marinated in ginger or galangal, wrapped in a leaf and quickly fried, so it retained a pink tenderness inside. We also had the Kang Pa, a thin beef curry made with southern-style orange paste and bamboo shoots, green beans, galangal and basil (I've had an wildly hot version of this paste at Sea Thai). Probably my favorite was the homok salmon, chunks of fish mixed with herbs, steamed inside a banana leaf cup atop basil and thinly sliced cabbage, topped with rich coconut cream-delicious.

      2. I don't think there is anything in the immediate area worth the cab ride, and Seattle is too far on a 4.5 hour layover. The food at Seatac has vastly improved in the last year, however.

        Link: http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Co...

        1. Thanks everyone for the suggestions. Looks like I'll be roughing it at the airport! :)

          1. Bai Tong 15859 International Blvd

            It's close to the airport and DEFINITELY better than the food options at Seatac. I've been told that Bai Tong was initially started for Thai Airlines (whose employees were sick of eating crummy american food). Initially, chefs were flown in from Thailand and it was an employees only affair. However, this restaurant has been open to the public for years, and it is great. Dishes are cooked in a traditional Thai style, the menu selection is extensive and excellent.

            1. Last summer the airport opened Pacific Marketplace, with about 10 restaurants. Most are fast food, but there is one reasonably serious sit-down place, Anthony's, part of a local mini-chain that specializes in seafood. While you can get much more inspired seafood in Seattle, Anthony's is quite good for airport food.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Bruce

                Not mostly a great appreciator of chain operations, I give Anthony's a lot of credit. They do a good job and represent NW seafood well. That anything at all can survive the airport placement still seems like a stretch, but I'd definitely give them a try.

              2. I'm posting this about 14 months after the last reply.
                Has anything changed at the airport? I'm going to be there also for 4 1/2 hours in the late afternoon/early evening.

                11 Replies
                1. re: jayjay

                  Bai Tong is no longer open on International Blvd. They have moved to a small strip mall in back of the South Center Doubletree. IMHO, it is well worth a trip.

                  1. re: jayjay

                    Your 4.5 hours, once you factor in airport time at either end, leaves just over 3 hours outside the airport. A taxi to downtown is 20-30 minutes each way, or a little more if you hit the worst of rush hour, leaving you about 2 hours downtown, enough for a great meal if it's during dinner hours. But is it worth $80 roundtrip on top of the dinner cost?

                    You can also take the bus -- Metro route 194 runs every 30 minutes, takes 30 minutes, and costs about $1.50. Even if your timing is bad, you'll have time for a good meal and will get to see Seattle.

                    Myself, I'd eat at Anthony's at the airport. Even the most rabid chowhound should know when to go with the flow....

                    1. re: jayjay

                      When I was there in February we drove down from Vancouver and arrived at the airport several hours early. I noticed a Mexican place on International Blvd, right near the National rental car place (which was on a side street). I don't remember the name but it was the only Mexican place nearby. I told hubby we should eat there on the theory that it was bound to be better than the airport. Unfortunately, it wasn't. I was excited to see cocido on the menu...and ordered that. I suppose it could have been an off day...but the meat was mostly fat and gristle and the stew contained exactly two potatoes and one carrot. My husband had fish tacos and was similarly unimpressed.

                      So don't count on good Mexican near the airport....sorry.....

                      1. re: janetofreno

                        Agree that time constraints may limit you to the airport where your best choice may be Anthony's. However there is a new-ish "wine bar" that has opened called 'Vino Volo'. They offer wine flights and small plates i.e. charcuterie, Beecher's Mac n Cheese:


                        1. re: fooddawg

                          There's a Vintage Washington place right outside the security checkpoint (on the non-secure side) for Concourse D. Is this the same thing? It just opened.

                          I like the stuff at Dish D'Lish too, though granted it is just sandwiches, etc. I've eaten at Pyramid (it sucks, just like the one in Sodo). What about the Alaska Ale place? Any good? Anthony's isn't bad...pretty good for airport food, actually.

                          If you wanted to leave the airport and go downtown, taking 99 shouldn't take more than 30 minutes at its worst.

                          Thank you everybody for NOT recommending 13 Coins. ON another board I visit people continue to recommend this place, but it's awful and overpriced.

                          1. re: eternalX

                            I was just looking at 13 coins menu for kicks and it seems grossly overpriced. 16 dollars for linguine and pesto. 13 dollars for eggs and bacon. Count me out.

                            1. re: eternalX

                              Good catch, eternalX! Just found details on the Sea-Tac airport website:

                              Vintage Washington Is Open and Pouring Northwest Wines and Serving Regional Fare
                              A new full-service restaurant and wine bar has opened pre-security in the Main Terminal behind the Continental Airlines ticket counter. Vintage Washington serves a tempting variety of Northwest wines, both by the glass and bottle. Beer and mixed drinks, along with a menu of small bites, salads, soups and sandwiches are available. Vintage Washington is open daily from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. It's on the public side of the security checkpoints, so both passengers and non-passengers can sip and sup.

                              1. re: BruceB

                                As far as airport offerings go, Vintage Washington looks interesting! Vino Volo also seems like a good place to sip away a long layover and is on the post-security side so air passengers only, but no need to go through security again.

                            2. re: fooddawg

                              I had a good time at Vino Volo--definetly stop in. The dishes are lackluster but satisfying.

                              1. re: fooddawg

                                I agree with the Vino Volo rec, not really dinner, but good 'tapas/small plates' with interesting wine flights (remember this reccomendation is based on airport location, outside airport we could all probably direct you to much better, but this place really makes an effort and could actually survive in the outside world).

                              2. re: janetofreno

                                If you want good Mexican in the vicinity of Sea-Tac, stay on Hwy. 518 a couple more exits west to where it ends in Burien, then go a few blocks south to 206 SW 152nd Street. There you'll find La Costa, a little neighborhood joint serving really good Mexican food and tasty and potent margaritas, and featuring a kick-ass Mariachi band most Friday nights. It's my favorite Mexican place in and around Seattle.

                            3. Another vote for Anthony's

                              1. Just across from the airport is 13 Coins, and it's open 24 hours.

                                Kind of pricey, but good steaks and italian food. I like the calamari steak. When traveling alone, I like to take seat at the counter. People either love this place or hate it.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Life is too short for bad food

                                  For more adventurous options consider Taqueria El Rinconsito (Tukwila), 14406 Tukwila International Blvd., or Somali food from Marwa, 15035 Pacific Highway S. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/398454

                                  Each of these are less than 10 minuts from the airport, on the same road (it changes/shares names along the way).

                                  1. re: Life is too short for bad food

                                    You took the words right out of my mouth.
                                    Gotta agree with Msmarymc too La Costa is one of my standbys fun,family,mexican place with real good mexican food and a band.Thats only on the other side of the airport too.There chilli rellenos is awsome.

                                  2. One thing a lot of replies seem to forget is that someone with a layover at the airport doesn't have a car. Unless you're going to leave the meter running, getting a cab from a nearby restaurant to the airport is going to involve a phone call and a wait in addition to the expense in both directions.

                                    Enjoy one of the places in the airport. SeaTac isn't bad. If you're hungry, go to Anthony's. If you're thirsty, either the Pyramid or Alaskan brewery pubs (just avoid the food there), or Vino Volo or Vintage Washington if you prefer wine to beer. If you want a coffee (or chocolate), Dilettante has a stand near Anthony's and does a decent job (and isn't Starbucks).

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: terrier

                                      Don't get an espresso at Dilettante though--its even worse than Starbucks.

                                        1. re: Nikiforos

                                          Diva is at the airport now. It's fantastic (their in-house roasted coffee beans are the only ones in Seattle that I will buy).

                                          1. re: Lauren

                                            Big thanks--I really heavily on espresso when travelling and am often in SeaTac.

                                        2. re: terrier

                                          Any one try Puck's?

                                          Vino Volo it will be next time passing through. Never thought of Pyramid as a food place, so I'll just go for the brew.

                                          The Hong Kong style restaurant at the Great Wall Shopping Center on West Valley Highway is within reasonable distance and worth going to if you've got some wheels.

                                          1. re: country bumpkin

                                            Just don't get there deep fried fish fry in the 99 Ranch that stuff is mostly rotten fish.There deli is mediocre at best and not consistant at all.The pho place looks pretty good and some of the bakerys are ok,the resturant on the front of the mall would like you to think it's upper class but it looks like the 99Ranch deli food with the prices multiplied 4 or 5x.I mean a Peking duck for $40's no way!

                                        3. There's always the 13 Coins on 99 about 188th...

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: dinkydog

                                            airport + mexican = mahi tacos at Anthony's in the main bar, why jump a cab, these are really good fish tacos.

                                            I jumped in here on the Mexican thread, Taqueria Reconsito is about the most authentic we have going around here, but it pales in comparison to the food in San Jose.

                                            In San Jose, the must try's are Guadalajara Market burritos (verde+chilli relleno), and the Al Pastor meat at Tacos al Pastor. Super Taqueria is still darn good also, but go there after the other two.

                                            Any other real taquerias around here? (seattle)

                                          2. I would go with Bai Tong Restaurant. They are still in operation, though in a different location from the original on International Blvd. They are now at 16876 Southcenter Parkway, Tukilla - still easy access to the airport. Bai Tong began in 1989 by a Thai Airways flight attendent principally to serve the Thai Air crew and they have been going strong ever since. When traveling in and out of Alaska I used to arrange for a layover just to get a meal at Bai Tong. I have since moved to Seattle and can now satisfy that need whenever I choose. You won't be disipointed.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: capsicumNW

                                              I fly WAY too much, and am Seatac maybe 2-3 times a month (going there tomorrow am). Lots of new construction there. In the airport, Vintage WA is good, Anthony's is totally acceptable. 13 Coins IS overpriced but it's kind of a scene, with sports starts and rich folks drinking martinis, offers unusual things like sweetbread, and they make a really really tasty seared oven finished trout. It's across the street from the airport, so it's not crazy to go there while waiting for a plane. Also nearby is this Broiler restaurant, damn, can't remember the name, but it's a couple hundred yards south of the main exit of the airport on Int'l Blvd. Don't get your gourmet hopes up, but it has acceptable BBQ and lovely cute little jalapeno corn cakes, the latter come with each meal, and nice rotating microbrews on tap - particularly sample anything from Snoqualmie brewery. Seatac airport's become much nicer lately (though the damn ongoing construction is CRAZYMAKING), but the neighborhood is, in a word, skanky.

                                            2. Waji's is a new place at Seatac, run by Uwajimaya's of the Seattle International District. http://www.portseattle.org/seatac/sho...

                                              1. Bai Tong is awesome, I had their Pork Larb and their Seafood hot and sour coup yesterday, it knocked my socks off.

                                                1. I thought Waji's in the airport was horrible, and some of it overpriced.